Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Martin Creed

  • Thoughts Lined Up [Telephone, 2016] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Thoughts Lined Up [Telephone, 2016]
Although the New York Times praised Creed's 2016 Park Avenue Armory show, I'd never heard of this Turner Prize-winning neo-dadaist until, miraculously, I pulled his super-skinny promo on a random five-CD grab: 24 frail, weedy ditties also revealed to the public in 2016, although few Brits and no American known to the internet gods reviewed it. The opening "I'm Going to Do Something Soon" having attracted my attention, I knew I'd tripped over a winner as Creed veered into "Princess Taxi Girl"--the outpourings of what sounded like an insecure, overexcited 14-year-old boy even though he was already 47 back then. Always a visual artist with a musical side, Creed led a punk band long ago and kept his hand in right up to this catchy folk-punk w/ femme-cum-kiddie choir. Again and again down-to-basics wordplay subverts simplistic lyrics. "Let's Come to an Arrangement" repeats "I want to make an announcement" four times before proceeding to "I don't want to make an appointment/I don't want to make a commitment/I want to come to an arrangement/I want to come to an arrangement"; the words "agreement," "adjustment," "amendment," "accountant," "argument," "accident," and "assailant" all arise later in the minute-and-a-half song. Two tracks later, the title "Border Control" shrinks down to "border con," "border," and "bore." Like that. A-